NLA’s rejection of all EC nominations raises doubt of attempt to delay election

Political veterans have cast doubt on the National Legislative Assembly (NLA)’s rejection of all seven Election Commissioner nominations, suspecting it was an attempt to delay the election.

The NLA on Thursday (Feb 22) voted down all the seven election commissioners nominated by the selection committee. None of the seven nominated election commissioners received half of the votes of the 248 assemblymen present or a minimum 124 votes required to be approved as members of the Election Commission.

As a result, the selection process of EC members will be back to square one.

Samart Kaewmechai, former Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, said he wondered why the NLA viewed that all seven candidates nominated by the selection committee were not qualified for the posts.

The NLA needs to clarify their decision to vote down the seven nominations, otherwise it would face public skepticism, Mr Samart said.

He also questioned if the new selection process would end up with the NLA voting down all of the nominations again.

If this happened, it would be a clear indication of an attempt to delay the election, he said.

Another Pheu Thai party’s member Wattana Sengphairogh also voiced concern over possible delay in election resulting from the rejection of EC nominations. He called on the NLA president and the EC selection committee to speed up the selection process and assure that it would not affect the roadmap to election.

Democrat party’s executive member Wiruch Romyen said he saw NLA’s decision to vote down the seven EC nominations as a tactic to prolong the election.

Although the current election commissioners could carry on with the tasks, there would be questions over their legal status because they were the outgoing commissioners.

Democrat deputy party leader Nipit Intarasombut said the Feb 22 voting by the NLA was “very unusual” and asked the people to keep a close watch on the renewed selection process of new EC candidates.

Even if the new candidates have excellent qualifications, they could risk being rejected by the NLA, he said, adding that this could deter qualified persons to apply for the job because the NLA’s rejection could tarnish their reputations, Mr Wiruch said.